Posts Categorized: Human Rights

Court Convicts a Bosnian Serb General of Genocide

He and some of the four witnesses he called in his defense variously argued that the Serbian forces near the United Nations enclaves were there to fight “terrorists” who were using the zones as bases from which to attack Serbs. Some said only several hundred people were killed during the operations, rather than the more than 7,000 whose bodies have been identified. Muslims in the area were not persecuted, the defense argued, but left voluntarily.

AI: Urgent Action re Student Arrest

The arrests came after several days of student protests following efforts by the security forces to suppress peaceful commemorations of Maaveerar Naal (Heroes Day), a day of remembrance established by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)…

20 Incidents Against “Uthayan” Newspaper

 20 violence incidents in 28 years only against “Udayan” newspaper. Pointed out in parliament yesterday. Continuous methods of repression are unleashed against the “Udayan” newspaper and 20 violence incidents have been unleashed was pointed out by Tamil National Alliance parliament member P.Ariyanenthiran yesterday in parliament. During the group discussion regarding the authorized ministries to the… Read more »

Statement Condemning Student Arrest

Statement Condemning the Arrest and Unlawful Detention of Four Students from the University of Jaffna and Calling for their Immediate Release 6th December, 2012   We the undersigned, strongly condemn the arrest of four students of the University of Jaffna (UoJ) by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) on Thursday, November 29, 2012. While welcoming the… Read more »

AI: Students at Risk of Torture Following March

Four students were arrested on 1 December in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of the police. They are being held in Vavuniya for interrogation and are at risk of torture…
The following day students responded with a silent protest and short march and held placards denouncing the restrictions on freedom of expression. At least 20 undergraduates were injured and beaten by riot police and officers in civilian dress, including Sanmugam Solaman. Security forces allege that the students had thrown stones at them, prompting them to react; university staff told local media that the event was peaceful until the authorities attacked the marchers.

Response to the ICG Report on Tamil Politics

The ICG Report on Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution: The Blind Spot The recently released report “Sri Lanka: Tamil Politics and the Quest for a Political Solution” by the International Crisis Group [ICG] is a timely contribution to the international community’s understanding of current Tamil politics, and reiterates a number of… Read more »

Sen. Rhiannon Maveerar Day Adjournment Speech

I congratulate all those who are working to ensure that there will be a war crimes investigation. As 27 November dawns around the world, I acknowledge the grief and courage of Tamils who gather together to remember and reflect on the enormity of the lives lost.

I repeat the call that crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Sri Lanka must be independently investigated.

Insider Account of Government Forces Torturing Civilians

[T]he captain… was transferred to Colombo, where he helped with search and cordon operations that rounded up ethnic Tamils. He said he knew the army was torturing, beating and raping civilians.

“I admit that it is a harassment of these people,” he said. “I admit that.”…
[T]he board ruled in February he was not eligible for refugee protection because he was complicit in crimes against humanity.

Amnesty UCLU panel asks ‘Sri Lanka: Genocide?’

Madurika Rasaratnam of TAG argued…”The idea of genocide is useful to understand the past, the present and the future of Sri Lanka. The label of genocide captures the process that has occurred in the post-independence Sri Lanka…”
Outlining his own personal view – “I think there is a possibility it is genocide”, Carver said that nonetheless it should not be activists that call it a genocide first, but academics.

“I Remain a Friend of the Sinhala People and of Buddhism”

But on a lighter vein, I recall what I wrote to President Premadasa:-Sir, please turn the lion on the National flag the other way, so as not to threaten the two minorities with the sword!

To His Excellency President Rajapakse, I may quote a Chinese proverb from Wang Suo of Hans dynasty: –Nothing brings greater misfortune than killing those who have already surrendered…
Mr. D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister, who knew the birth pangs and fears of the non-Sinhalese on the eve of Independence, loudly proclaimed to the world: United we stand, divided we fall!

Vanni : a Personal Journey

Heinrich Böll said of the Second World War: as long as the pus continues to drain from the wound of war, you cannot say the nation is free from war. I saw that, in Sri Lanka, an unseen war is still being waged, one that seeks to destroy the spirit of a people.

The UN Failed Sri Lanka’s Tamils, and Innocents Paid the Price

“Instead, the Security Council and UN Secretariat were cowed by the Sri Lankan authorities, who enjoyed “the effective acquiescence of a post-9/11 world order” to defeat an enemy regarded by many as terrorists, says an executive summary that was deleted before the report was made public last week. UN officials pulled their punches, downplayed death tolls and allegations of government crimes, left the world in the dark, and generally fell short in helping the victims.”

Internal Probe Finds UN Culpable of Inaction in Preventing Mass Atrocities in Sri Lanka

The last phase of the war claimed up to 70,000 lives according to the UN report, and 146,000 are estimated to be missing. In the aftermath of the war, 300,000 Tamils were interned in Manik Farm, described by many as the largest concentration camp the world has ever seen. In sheer magnitude and intent to extinguish a people, this event is the worst mass atrocity of the 21st century and appears to constitute genocide…
The UN must respond by establishing an independent international investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

UN Internal Review Reinforces the Need for an International Commission

Given the constraint mandate of the LLRC coupled with the “lack of an enabling environment for a judicial follow up” as stated in the UN Internal Review Report, the Secretary-General need not wait till the exhaustion of the domestic remedies. Justice delayed is justice denied.

NCCT on UN Internal Report

Canadians demand UN and the world act swiftly to address the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka; urge Commonwealth countries to follow Canada’s lead. by National Council of Canadian Tamils, November 16, 2012 NCCT Press Release – Canadians demand UN and world act swiftly Nov 16 2012 PDF The world and United Nations failed… Read more »

UN Has a Second Chance to Right Wrongs on Sri Lanka

THERE is little doubt that in 2009 the government of Sri Lanka pulled off one of the nastiest episodes of mass killing since the Rwandan genocide – and got away with it…
[T]hese efforts morphed into the International Crimes Evidence Project, which is now led by the Sydney-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre. ICEP is probably now the single largest repository of evidence related to war crimes in Sri Lanka in the world. ICEP’s personnel includes veterans from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Next month, ICEP will hand a brief of evidence to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with evidence gathered and attested using the highest standards of international criminal law. While Sri Lanka is certain to argue next March that it has given a true account of the end of the war, ICEP’s brief will demonstrate otherwise.

What if the UN Had Spoken Out on Sri Lanka?

The only way for the UN to set the record straight on Sri Lanka now is for Ban ki Moon to set up an international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. It was the recommendation of a panel of experts he commissioned to write a report last year but the Secretary General hesitated to take such a step without strong international backing. We now know from this internal review that his own legal department advised him he had the power to do it, but backed off. After the revelations of this inquiry it’s an essential step to restore the UN’s tattered credibility on Sri Lanka.

UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

Note that as the years go by, individuals are no longer identified as ‘Tamil,’ although all cases refered to the Working Group are indisputably of one ethnic group, part of the wider effort to forget that Sri Lanka’s is a language, religion & geography-based conflict. — Ed/

What the U.N. is (badly) Hiding on Sri Lanka

Nearly 2 and a half years later, and despite Sri Lanka’s commitment to a credible investigation into war-time abuses, the U.N. has yet to issue a firm public call for an independent inquiry into the war.

Is Ban’s Legacy Tarnished by Sri Lanka?

But it is his response to the final, bloody months of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war — a human rights calamity that has largely fallen below the radar of most global policymakers — that may ultimately do more to shape his legacy, and that of the United Nations, as a defender of human rights…
“Events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN,” the report concluded…
The U.N. chief has never authorized an independent investigation, arguing that only an intergovernmental organization like the U.N. Security Council or the Human Rights Council has the power to do it. (That hasn’t happened)…
“You had a crisis that unfolded before the eyes of the United Nations and the major powers and no action was taken,” [Steven Ratner] said. “Everything was done in a very quiet way. I think it’s a terrible defeat and setback for the whole commitment to R2P.”